Thursday, June 15, 2006

Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven & Alternative Fuels

Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven wrote an guest editorial in the News Sentinel today. After reading it she has lost my support because of her ignorance on Ethanol and Biodiesel. Many complain about requirements for county coroners not being stringent enough, well the same can be said of State Representatives like Pond. For example three plants will have a profit of $13 Million for local farmers but we as tax payers will contribute to the these companies more than $103 Million in tax credits (51 cents per gallon). We as taxpayers could simply save $90 million by paying the farmers directly while at the same time keep corn prices low for the consumer.

But the real ignorance of her position is ethanol is not a viable solution to foreign oil. A gallon of ethanol contains an energy equivalent of 83,000 Btu’s while a gallon of unleaded gas contained an energy equivalent of 120,000 Btu’s. The energy consumed to grow, transport, dry and distill the corn to ethanol is equivalent to more than 90,000 Btu’s. In simple terms we consume 7,000 Btu’s more than we get out.

The last time I checked, farm equipment consumed diesel or gasoline. Natural gas prices are high due to demand and 50% of the energy used to make ethanol comes from natural gas. This means we will need to import more natural gas from some place else or guess what, convert natural gas consumers to some type of other energy source maybe coal, oil o nuclear.

Now some will say the by-products are worth something and they apply an energy credit for it. The by-product normally in the form of hog feed. Just how much hog feed do we need? Will the increase in supply of hog feed from ethanol plants cause alternative producers of hog feed go out of business?

Then there is the problem of overall capacity. Converting all 80 million acres of corn to ethanol would replace 13% of gasoline, but we would no longer have corn to eat, feed for beef production and the list goes on. At the same time our overall energy usage would increase by 5%. Where do we get 5% more energy? Do we burn more coal, build more hydro electric, nuclear, or natural gas?

We need an energy plan that uses the right source of energy for the right task. Using corn to make ethanol will in no way reduce foreign oil.

Government officials need to stop giving tax credits or incentives (our money) for products and then turning around saying how good a job they are doing at bringing jobs to Indiana. I don’t think Indiana can afford to buy to many more jobs like this


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